On Saturday, the boys, Grandad, and I went to the homeless shelter to minister. Another brother from the area joined us because he wanted to be in on our noon chapel service. Since the temperatures were in the mid-teens, we expected a full house, and we werenâ€™t disappointed. There was likely 150 men or so packed into that room.
Nathan led singing; Christopher played the piano and preached. We brought our instruments and sang a hymn (Whosoever Will), bluegrass style for the men. They really love the happy sound of the bluegrass music as we play a well-known hymn for them each time we go.
After the chapel service, the older ones will spread out and speak with the men. Most people have an idea of the type of men who would be at a rescue mission. Last month I spoke with two past drug dealers. They had finally gotten caught and quit â€œdealin,â€ but they spoke rather proudly of their past accomplishments. As one would expect they were not established in Jesus. However, I believe you would be very surprised in the other type of people who are living at homeless shelters as represented by those I spoke to this week.
The first was a professional musician, and Iâ€™m not talking about someone who played jazz in bars. He played the upright bass for a symphony in two towns. Music was his life, and he was brilliant. Iâ€™m confident, not only was his IQ way above mine, but so was his education. Yet, all of that meant nothing because he had an appetite for an illegal substance. He claimed to have placed his faith in Jesus, but it was not in the Jesus of the Bible. Before I was saved I had an intellectual knowledge of Jesus being the Son of God, but I had not seen myself as a sinner, repented of my sin and placed my faith in Jesus and what He did for me on the cross. This manâ€™s â€œfaithâ€ resembled mine before I as saved. Therefore he continued to be a slave to his sin because he didnâ€™t have the desire to forsake his drugs nor the power of God in his life. He called drugs his crutch.
The other man surprised me greatly. He was very gentle and humble and seemed to reflect a heart depending on Jesus, which was also his confession. He was a degreed engineer and about my age. Yet, he had struggled also with drugs and alcohol, but was clean for the last 6 months. This man had the power to be free, the issue was whether he would continue to use it. He acknowledged that he had used drugs because he was lonely, and it was a choice.
I praise God for organizations that give men food and a place to stay off the street. There are a lot of hurting people out there. There are also a lot of hurting people in the church. Some are there just acting the part, with no relationship with Jesus and a slave to private sin. Others are there who are saved and have the power of God, but wonâ€™t choose to use it. They squander their lives on the pleasures of this world. Those pleasures may be legal, but they are not edifying and result in wasted lives, when they could have had an impact on our world. Then there are others, few in number, who are willing to be living sacrifices, forgoing the pleasures of our world so as to invest in others. Oh God, please bless them, strengthen them, and enable them to be about the great commission as the Lord Jesus has commanded us. â€œAnd Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amenâ€ (Matthew 28:18-20).
3 thoughts on “Saturday at the Mission”
I enjoyed talking toÂ the Stand-Up Bass player as well. He was very well spoken and intelligent but had obviously made some serious mistakes in his life.
What amazes me is God’s grace. There but for the grace of God, go I. The only thing that stands between us and total depravity is God. It is humbling to look at your own issues and realize that God has given you these crosses to bear rather than the crosses that the men we met were bearing.
One of my favorite classic devotions/prayers is “God the All” from the “Valley of Vision.” The classic line is…
O God, it is amazing that men can talk so much
about man’s creaturely power and goodness,
when, if thou didst not hold us back every moment,
we should be devils incarnate.
Thank you Jesus for having mercy on me while I was yet a sinner, and still while under the banner of Your grace each moment of each day.
What an amazing testimony, both of the men you served, and of your work with the Mission. Please continue to update us on your outreach efforts: they are inspiring.
Thank you for providing details on your ministry efforts. Our family is praying for God’s direction in starting some type of ministry, as well. With small children (8, 4, 2), our options are still somewhat limited, but we’re thinking about visiting a nearby nursing home and sending regular care packages to a neighbor stationed in Iraq. God bless your family as you minister in Christ’s name.
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